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March 2007

Law Library Acquires "Hollywood Ten" Memorandum

The library has recently acquired a memorandum prepared by Will Maslow of the American Jewish Congress and Thurgood Marshall on behalf of the NAACP urging the United States Supreme Court to grant Writs of Certiorari in the cases of two Hollywood screen writers-John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo (176 R.2d 49 (1949)).

The case against the two authors hinged on their refusal to answer the infamous question "are you a member of the Communist Party" in hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). In its support of the Petition the NAACP wrote:

"A great number of the motion pictures to production of which petitioners contributed consistently showed the Negro minority group in a truer light than it had previously enjoyed. Far from being un-American in character, these pictures were among the first to portray an unstereotyped Negro. Therefore the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People believes that the attack on petitioners is in part an attack on the basic struggle for equality of all people, regardless of race, creed, color or nationality."

This particular document (five typed pages) is not included in the legal files of the NAACP for 1940-1955 and adds to our understanding of the working relationships between these two organizations, both engaged in the struggle against discrimination.

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